May 30, 2015
Yesterday we heard the slow escalation of David's problems stemming from Saul's jealousy. Saul made David his son-in-law, but only because of the hope that David would be killed by the Philistines. For only the first time in yesterday's reading, we heard how Saul was humbled because of the results of acting on his jealousy. But he doesn't learn from it.
How it must please the Lord when we pray this psalm, which is another favorite! Note that the psalm starts and ends with the same line.
The second key to being released from the power of sin is God's Spirit! (v.6) Paul then launched into an exposition of what he meant in verse 5: “When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death.” The explanation that extends from verse 7 to the end of the chapter should not be construed to negate what he said in verse 6 and in the preceding chapters!
10and [might as well as killed me. I died— spiritually speaking.//I died]. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead.
11Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me [— (because I couldn’t keep them)].
15I don’t really understand [my own self//myself], for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.
20But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing [the] wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
[PET 24-25] [So you see how it [was//is]: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.///[NLT] 24Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord[./!] //So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.]
It seems to me (and I am not alone in this) that reordering Paul’s words here helps to remove the impression that Paul is contradicting everything he has said so far about the believer’s victory over the power of sin. From verse 7 on, Paul is expounding on verse 5: “When we were controlled by our old nature,b sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death.” If I am right, then, NLT is wrong to use the present tense in “you see how it is”. I don’t have a problem with this connecting phrase showing the logical connection. I just want to change the verb tense. The Greek only says, “So then,” which is really enough.
This is a very unfortunate chapter break (not made by Paul but by Robert Estienne around 1552). This chapter division has contributed to the wrong understanding of the end of this chapter. I recommend that everyone always keep reading past it!